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Ohio Divorce Laws

One of the reasons so many people hire a divorce lawyer to handle their case is that divorce laws can be confusing. They’re different in every state. You may have friends or family who’ve gotten divorced. However, that doesn’t mean they know your local court's rules.

Here, we’ll provide a brief overview of the Ohio divorce process. We’ll also explain the difference between divorce and dissolution of marriage in Ohio. Finally, we’ll highlight some of the critical Ohio divorce statutes governing divorce and dissolution.

No-Fault Divorce in Ohio

Ohio law refers to a no-fault divorce, where the parties agree to the terms of their divorce, as a dissolution of marriage. The Ohio Supreme Court provides form downloads for Ohio Dissolution without Children and Ohio Dissolution with Children.

A dissolution proceeding is used by parties who have resolved issues such as property division and parenting arrangements if there are children.

Fault-Based Divorce in Ohio

If you and your spouse do not agree to the terms of your divorce, you will file a divorce action as opposed to a dissolution. When you file for divorce in Ohio, you must cite specific grounds. The available grounds for divorce in Ohio include:

  • Either party was already married to somebody else
  • Willful absence of the defendant for at least one year
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Fraudulent contract
  • Gross neglect of duty
  • Habitual drunkenness or drug abuse
  • Imprisonment at the time you file for divorce
  • A divorce was granted to the other party in another state
  • Incompatibility
  • Legal separation for at least one year

If you need the forms for an Ohio divorce, refer to the links for Divorce without Children or Divorce with Children.

If you’re filing for dissolution, also called an uncontested divorce, and have no minor children, you may be able to proceed without a divorce attorney. However, it’s best to retain an experienced divorce lawyer for more complex cases.

The judge won’t take pity on you because you don’t have legal counsel. If you are fighting for child custody, child support, or alimony/spousal support, having a seasoned family law attorney by your side is a good idea.

Divorce Laws in Ohio: At a Glance

You can learn more about Ohio's divorce laws below. You can also reference FindLaw's extensive Divorce section for more articles and resources.

You can find the specific divorce laws in Ohio at Chapter 3105 et seq. of the Ohio Revised Code. This statute outlines the local laws on the dissolution of marriage and a contested divorce. Chapter 3105 also details the procedural rules for divorce and dissolution proceedings in Ohio:

  • Residency requirements: You must have lived in Ohio for at least six months to file for divorce/dissolution
  • Waiting period for divorce: There is no waiting period for a divorce action in Ohio. However, once the other party is served they will have 28 days to respond to the Petition and, during that time, a divorce cannot be finalized.
  • Waiting period for dissolution: For dissolution of a marriage case, the court may not finalize the divorce until at least 30 days have elapsed from the date of filing.

If you’re filing for dissolution, you don’t need to cite specific grounds for divorce. You will attach a copy of your separation agreement to the Petition.

This agreement will help the judge confirm that you and your spouse have already resolved issues surrounding the allocation of separate property and liabilities and the equitable distribution of marital property.

If you're filing for divorce, you must select a ground or grounds for divorce. Possible grounds include:

  • You have been separated for at least one year
  • You and your spouse are incompatible

These are essentially no-fault grounds in a divorce action if other fault-based grounds such as adultery, cruelty, or abandonment do not apply.

Getting Divorced in Ohio? An Attorney Can Help

If you’ve decided to end your marriage, you may feel overwhelmed by the divorce process. Sometimes, it’s better to let an attorney handle your divorce case. It can be challenging to separate your emotions from the legal process.

Your divorce lawyer will ensure you get your fair share of personal property and any real estate you own with your spouse. They’ll also work hard to negotiate an equitable division of property and a parenting plan that works for you.

If, after your divorce, you find that your ex-spouse isn’t honoring their support obligations or other provisions of your divorce decree, your attorney can file a Motion for Contempt. Having the same person handle your divorce and post-divorce issues is easier.

To find a divorce lawyer near you, visit’s Ohio attorney directory.

Research the Law

Ohio Legal Requirements for Divorce: Related Resources

Note: State laws are always subject to change through new legislation, higher court rulings that include federal decisions, ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information, consult an attorney or conduct legal research to verify your state’s law(s).

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Divorces are tough and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
  • Divorce lawyers can secure alimony, visitation rights, and property division

Get tailored divorce advice and ask a lawyer questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


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